Monster Mash

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In years gone by, when the kids were younger, I used to get excited about Halloween.  Not only for the opportunity of snitching chocolate bars and candy from their stashes (I am sure they knew I was pilfering now and then) but also for creating and making their costumes, carving pumpkins and decorating the house.

Since both kids are now grown and gone, most of the fun has also gone with them.  Except for the music.  There are some Halloween songs that I still get a kick out of (movies too, Halloween isn’t Halloween without The Rocky Horror Picture Show), but my all time favourite Halloween song is The Monster Mash (link will open in another window and take about a minute to start, be patient, remember to turn your speakers up!).

Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett will live on forever with his goofy, Halloween themed music that he truly enjoyed singing.  For a complete list of his original songs, you can go to: www.themonstermash.com

Happy Halloween!!!

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It’s Here! It’s Here!

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Yippee!

Woot!

WooHoo!

My AirMiles present has finally arrived!  I am SO excited!  Did I tell you I was excited? maybe you didn’t hear me…MY AIRMILES PRESENT ARRIVED! (that is yelling on the computer screen in case you didn’t know how it’s done).

Back to my present though.  Actually, so far this week presents have been delivered to the house 2 out of 3 days, and a third present I had to go out for.  We shall start with that one, kinda boring, but it was a necessity and not at all exciting…it was a new tire for my car (altogether now….YIPPEE!).  A week or so ago, I developed a couple of slow leakers in two of my tires, which is a real pita when you have to stop at the station every couple days to top them up.  Since they were purchased at a big box bulk store, they had an extended road side warranty on them.  So off I went last week to get them fixed.  One was easy, a bead leak which they resealed, the other was a puncture, and not just a regular puncture, but one through the side wall which meant I had to buy a new one.  B-U-M-M-E-R.  Especially when I drive an Impala SS (the SS means SuperSporty Ridiculously Expensive Tires ~ or SSRET for short).  Thankfully I only had to pay about the third of the price of a new one with the warranty, but I had to wait for it to be ordered.  So today (yesterday) I headed over to get the tire replaced as it had finally come in.  I wisely took my knitting along to pass the time as they had to squeeze me into their schedule.

2 hours later I was back home with a new tire and to my surprise, present # 3 had been delivered while I was gone.  Meanwhile, present # 1 had come in the mail yesterday (Monday), THAT one is just as special as present # 3 as it consisted of 2 books that will teach me how to use Bob ~ the loom.  I am almost set to actually sit down and figure out this ancient technological fabric making device.

But I know you are getting real antsy to see what my airmiles present is…

and…
it is…
a…

NEW CAMERA!!!!

I traded in my hard-earned airmiles (5,400 in all) for a brand spanking new Sony SLT-A58K Digital Camera with an 18-55 mm detachable zoom lens.  Even though there is nothing wrong with my old camera (a Sony Cybershot, one that has done me quite well over the years), it was time to bump up the technology and get a current one.

For FREE.

Can’t get much better than that in my book.  So here is my new camera AND my new weaving books for Bob (I figured you didn’t need to see a picture of my new tire…as I said…kinda boring, unless your last name is Michelin or Goodyear)…

PresentsI can’t wait to get started with both new toys.  Now if you’ll excuse me… I have to toss a coin to see which one I get to play with first…

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Meet Bob

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He is a hard worker.  Never complains.  Doesn’t leave dirty socks on the floor or leave the toilet seat up.  Nor does he run for the beer fridge at the 5 o’clock whistle.

Loom

Sounds like a dream doesn’t he?  I bet you had a Bob just like I do.

Why the name Bob you ask?  Well, most people that acquire a loom give it a name, and most often that name is a feminine one.  A friend of mine asked what I was going to call her…..but my husband came up with the name instead.  Therefore it is a ‘He’, and hence his name is Bob.  Since I found him in the loft of a barn full of musical instruments,  a makeshift music studio so to speak, he must have been a studio rat.

So his name will stay.

Bob will have to be patient with me while I learn how to operate him, thankfully he is a loom and not a husband teaching a wife to drive.  Otherwise he would end up a pile of kindling for the woodstove…..

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The Needles Are Still Clicking Along…

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* Please note I am editing this blog post because I goofed up.  The reason behind the initial post was two-fold.  First, to document how much of a knitting junkie I have returned to being in such a short time and two….to win up to $200.00 in goodies from The Interweave Store.  You see, Knitting Daily has a contest going on (Blog it to Win it) right now where you show and tell your knitting project(s)/story on your blog to win free stuff.   I love free stuff.  Who doesn’t love free stuff? Who wouldn’t love to pick out $200.00 worth of free stuff from their site?  Only loco people wouldn’t and I am clearly not loco.  Ok, maybe just a tich loco….but I want to win, mainly because I am just so darn competitive.

These are the items I would love, Love, LOVE to get free:

Knitting Patterns…
Wragby Cardigan
Aryn Tunic Cardigan
Windowpane Coat
Hedgerow Coat
Minimalist Cardigan
(Can you tell I love sweaters?)

and because I just acquired Bob (see post from October 28th here), I need to learn how to use Bob and these 3 things will help me get there:

Log Cabin Infinity Woven Scarf Kit
The Best of Handwoven’s:
Weaving Techniques Digital Collection
Handwoven’s Master Weavers Collection:
Favorite Projects & Lessons from Sharon Alderman

Now let’s get on with my story…..from yesterday…

As I type this, another new project has been cast onto the needles.  This past weekend saw the last pair of socks being finished for my daughter (for a while at least, she has 2 brand new pairs in recent weeks) with a pair of mitts now in the works and a hat to do next.

Which led me to thinking…. just how many projects have I accomplished in the last 14 months since my return to knitting?  Knitting is like riding a bike, once you learn, it is with you forever.   I took up the craft (self taught) about 20 some years ago when I quit smoking,  desperately needing something to keep my hands busy before I ate my way to 300 lbs.  It worked too, 6 afghans were ‘manufactured’ during that first year of nicotine celibacy.

After that, many projects were cast on over the course of about 10 years.  Then for some reason (probably having to go back to work), knitting fell by the wayside.  Heading back into the workforce required a new wardrobe, so out came the sewing machine and I spent many years making my own work clothes as well as various other household projects from curtains to cushions and everything in between.

Knitting was the farthest thing from my mind until last year, when I realized I had ‘Southern Ontario’ winter gear (hats, scarves and gloves), which were not at all suitable for the bone numbing cold of Northern Ontario where our newly acquired Homestead is located.

Hence the unearthing of the knitting needles, and that was it,  I was hopelessly addicted again.  Especially when I realized that there are literally hundreds of websites / webpages devoted to knitters.  I spent hours surfing the internet for all things yarn related….I googled hat, scarf and mitt patterns while enjoying side trips oohing and awing over pretty sweaters before setting off to my local yarn shop to choose the perfect yarns for my chosen projects.

After that, it was knit, knit, knit, knit and knit some more….. In the first 3 months leading up to the Fall of 2012, I made 2 hats, one hooded cowl (for daughter), 5 pairs of mitts, 3 pairs of fingerless mitts, 2 scarves and a purse.

Not too shabby for a first run down the sidelines into the end zone.  But then I had my eye on something bigger.  The Grand PoohBah of knitting.  The Homestead needed an afghan and it had been years since I made one.  I still had the original pattern for all the afghans I made long ago, but I wanted something different.   So it was back to the internet surfing to find the perfect pattern….and I did, albeit the actual dimensions for it were quite small.  Our family requires large afghans, this was a baby blanket size of 47″ x 56″, that simply wouldn’t cut the mustard.

So I altered/lengthened and doubled the size of the pattern.  10 months and 17 gigantic balls of yarn later, my King-Sized afghan was finished.  I stood back and marveled at the size….over 6 feet long and almost 7 feet wide.  There is enough afghan to wrap around a humpback whale.   Then I thought….maybe I made it too big??? naw, no such a thing as a too-big afghan, it was perfect.

Homestead Afghan Finished

I should clarify that I didn’t spend the entire 10 months knitting the afghan as there was a period over the Spring/Summer that it sat in the corner of the living room, patiently waiting for my return.  It simply was too warm out to sit and knit an afghan of giant proportions in 30C heat.

It was during the early Spring that I was introduced to sock knitting.  I had never, ever made socks before.  I actually don’t even like socks, but these were something that were fairly quick to knit up, are great projects for long car drives and they make great gifts too.  The recipient of most of the socks made since then have been my daughter as she is the sock-lover-aholic of the family.  I did make a few pairs for myself and I am slowly taking a shine to them.  I guess it is the self-satisfaction in making a pair of hand-knitted socks that has me almost…almost liking them.

Which brings me back to all the things I have made since my re-introduction to knitting…

one afghan
two purses
six pairs of socks
one sweater
three hats
two scarves
one hooded cowl
eight pairs of mitts
one lace shawl/poncho
four pairs of Santa Slippers
and countless washcloths (I lost count as I was making them for client gifts too)

I still have many more projects waiting in the wings and I try to finish a project before starting another, otherwise I would have piles of needles and yarn stashed in various locations which would soon be classified as UFO’s (un-finished objects) and that is an un-deserving fate for any knitted project.

Knitting has not only been a great joy for me, but it is also a great stress reliever as my job can be quite demanding at times.  I look forward to sitting after dinner to unwind, mindlessly watching tv and letting the yarn do it’s magic on the needles.

Now that I have caught the knitting bug again, it isn’t likely to disappear a second time….

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Next Weeks Menu

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Another week has flown by, which means Father Time must have installed a jet engine and ditched the traditional feathered wings.  I am guessing Top Gun must be his favourite movie…..

This weekend should see us raking up the last of the leaves (weather permitting) as well as pulling the remaining late blooming annuals from the gardens.  After this weekend, there pretty much won’t be anything left to do outside but watch the landscape turn from a colourful fiesta into a drab grey/brown business suit to be followed by a pristine white gown.  Yes.  I hate to burst your bubble, but the white stuff will soon be flying.

Up at the Homestead, the chances of snow flurries arriving sooner than back down south are good odds.  You pretty much pull out the snow shovels the same weekend you put the garden tools away.

This week was crazy busy back south, a little bit of regular work mixed in with the usual household chores, a small sewing project and the obtaining of my newest hobby – the loom.  We are also at the start of our family ‘Birthday Season’, son-in-law turned the BIG 4-0 the other day and this weekend marks hubby’s special day followed by about 5-6 others over the course of the next few weeks (yours truly included).

The Happy Birthday song will be seriously over-played like The Monster Mash this time of year.  Speaking of The Monster Mash, I bet there will be a ton of adult Halloween parties this weekend too, so if you are out celebrating, please don’t drink and drive, or you may just end up a real zombie instead of the fake one you dressed up as.

Stay safe and have a fun weekend!

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A Loom With A View

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Yes, a new hobby has been born.  As if I don’t have enough of them….gardening, sewing, knitting, cooking, fishing, to name a few…so I am adding a new one to the resume.

Weaving

On a Loom

The old-fashioned way of making fabric.

I have no idea at the moment how to do it, but that is the fun of trying out new things.  I can picture myself in the not so distant future retired, sitting in the front room of the cottage overlooking the ever changing landscape of the lake, weaving colourful projects for friends and family alike.

I do believe my family thinks I am bonkers, but hey, if you don’t have a hobby that makes you happy, then you just may well be a very bored sad person.  As hubby puts it…

Happy Wife ~ Happy Life!

and I am indeed happy.  One of my cousins mentioned that she thinks I was switched at birth from an Amish family…could be, but most likely not, how would I write a blog and use electricity if I was Amish?  Silly girl…. I am a Canuckian/Ukrainian through and through.  Right down to my perogie and borscht fetish and often use of the word ‘Eh?’.

So over the course of the next couple months, you may hear me cursing as I try and figure out this loom business, with the good, the bad and ugly mistakes that are sure to follow.  I figure the biggest hurdle was getting the thing apart and transported home and then put back together again.  A giant Tinkeroy set conquered of which I couldn’t have done without the help of my son-in-law, furniture-taker-apart-and-put-it-back-together extraordinaire.  He was awesome and it only cost me a few beers and a steak dinner.  Well worth it if you ask me.

LoomHere is my 45″ Nilus Leclerc Counter-Balance Loom, made in Canada, circa 1970′s.  I think.  There is no date on it that I can find, but the book that came with it is dated 1971 so I assume the loom was made around that time.

Next on the To-Do list is to get a good weaving instruction book, view some you-tube videos and acquire some yarn….and get to weaving.

Then all I need is a good view…

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Road Trip!

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I am off to Cobourg, Ontario this morning.  From Burlington, that is about an hour and forty-five minutes barring any Toronto traffic nonsense.   Why the road trip you ask?  Didn’t you just come back from one?  Why yes I did, but, this is a one day road trip to pick up a very unusual object of which I will share with you all tomorrow (Wednesday).  I have to try and contain my excitement though…which isn’t at all easy…

Here is a clue as to what it is though, can you guess what it is?

Warp.  Beam.  Raddle.

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Can You Spot It?

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While on our trip to the States last week for the much enjoyed NASCAR race, we also took some time to get some shopping done.  Shopping in the States is fun – mainly for 2 reasons…1. stuff is cheaper and 2. there are many different things available there that are not available back in Canada.

I don’t know anyone that crosses the border only to sight see and NOT shop, I would suggest to those folks that do not want to shop that they should have their heads examined by a relative of Sigmund Freud.

Anyway, we wandered into a Bass Pro Shops (we have them here in Canada, but selection is sorely lacking from the U.S. stores) and spotted this table lamp.

Total impulse buy.  We both fell in love with it as soon as we laid eyes on it.  So we bought it and brought it back to the Homestead where we tried it out in several different places until we sort of liked where it was (it is still a work-in-progress).

Here it is all lit up in the evening…

Lamp_oneIsn’t it the funkiest thing ever?  Complete with faux fishing lure hanging from the top of the shade.

The next day, while we were moving it around our teeny living room, we noticed something…. let’s see how long it takes you, the general public to spot the not-so-seemingly-obvious defect.  Share this post with your friends and family to see how observant you all are.  This is your opportunity to show up your know-it-all Uncle Fred….

Here is a daytime shot for a better look:

Lamp_two Good Luck!

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Next Weeks Menu

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Oh wait..that was last week.  Since we missed it, this weekend hubby and I will be having our turkey dinner with all the fixin’s as we were away last weekend enjoying an exhaust-filled couple days of car racing.  Which, by the way, was simply fantastic.  The weather was beautiful, temps in the mid-20′s (in Celsius, that would be mid-70′s Fahrenheit for non-metric folk), and the drive down and back thru the Appalachians in West Virginia was simply stunning.  Do you know how hard it is to drive and sight-see at the same time?  especially on a windy-curvy road doing 70 mph? Yes, 70 mph is the speed limit on Interstate 77 (and parts of I79 as well).  I know, crazy eh?

We were almost overcome with joy at being able to drive close to the pit road speed of Daytona or Talledega.

But back to reality though, back to Canada and the chilly weather of a Canadian Fall-soon-to-become-Winter.

This weekend will probably involve leaf raking….lots and lots of leaf raking, with a few brewski’s sprinkled here and there for refreshment.  Or I may go visit a pumpkin patch or meander through a corn maze, but it will most likely be leaf raking. Probably you too….

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